Mental health and substance abuse have a complex, often intertwined relationship. Numerous people who struggle with one type of disorder also have the other type of disorder at the same time. This situation is something medical professionals term a dual diagnosis. Even people who do not have a recognized dual diagnosis are sure to encounter the interplay of mental health and substance abuse. For starters, the effects of drugs on mental health are clear and unavoidable.
The Relationship Between Mental Health and Substance Abuse
People who struggle with co-occurring disorders face the symptoms and impacts of mental health and substance abuse in their daily lives. Complicating matters further, mental health and substance abuse affect each other in profound ways. Recent research indicates that about 50% of people who struggle with a mental health disorder also experience substance abuse.
Asking which problem originated first is sometimes like the old chicken and the egg question. Either situation is possible. Substance abuse often stems from a person self-medicating because of severe mental health issues. In turn, certain substances are known to cause mental health disorders or psychological problems.
To put a finer point on it, mental health disorders leave people more at risk of developing a substance abuse disorder. And the answer to the question “Do drugs affect mental health?” is a resounding yes.
How Do Alcohol and Drugs Affect Mental Health
There are three key ways in which alcohol and drugs affect mental health. The first is that alcohol and drugs are often used to self-medicate in response to a mental health problem. Common reasons for abusing drugs include: to relieve undiagnosed mental health problems, as a means of coping with difficult emotions, and or as a way to alter mood temporarily. Using drugs is likely to create a new set of side effects and will likely end up exacerbating the underlying mental health issue.
Secondly, the effects of drugs on mental health are also clearly seen in the fact that drug use intensifies the risk of underlying mental health disorders. Mental health issues arise from the interplay of the following factors:
- Family history
The effects of drugs on mental health are too complex to draw a direct line between using drugs and getting a mental health disorder. But it is indisputable that drugs influence mental health.
The third way of answering “How does alcohol and drugs affect mental health?” returns to an earlier idea. Simply put, using drugs often makes mental health problems worse. This could look like new symptoms appearing, old symptoms intensifying, or drugs interfering with prescriptions that otherwise helped alleviate symptoms.
Mental Health and Drugs: Recognizing Dual Diagnosis
Identifying a dual diagnosis can be difficult. The signs may differ based on the drug used and the type of mental health distress experienced. Nonetheless, you can analyze the effects of drugs on your mental health by answering the following questions. This can help you determine whether or not you have co-occurring disorders that need to be addressed.
- Do you use drugs to cope with intense moods, bad memories, or distressing emotions?
- What kind of emotions are common for you before and after drug use?
- Are you regularly depressed or anxious even when sober?
- Have you previously received treatment for a mental health or substance abuse disorder?
Overcome Addiction at La Fuente Hollywood
Mental health and substance abuse are complex. Yet addressing a dual diagnosis is possible. A better life is waiting for you on the other side of treatment and recovery. Find out how La Fuente Hollywood approaches dual diagnosis treatment by calling 888.903.9898.